Sunday, 16 October 2011

Techie Trials

I could have called this "Closeted with Computer 2" but in fact what has kept me from blogging these last few days is an issue with my iPhone arising out my recent change of ISP and, consequently, of email address.

In short, I found myself unable to update the apps on my phone as the password for my iTunes account would not be recognised however many versions of new and old passwords I keyed in. It is extraordinary how frustrating and time consuming such failures can be, such are the expectations of speed, seamlessness and ease of use we pin on modern communication devices and the IT companies that flog them to us. And (sharp intake of breath) I have not found my favoured Apple to be blameless in this.

The reality is that, beneath the shiny interfaces and smoothly clicking keys lurk tiddly squiddly widdly lines of code that can trip us up as we seek ever more connectedness. In my case, what I did not (in all innocence, m'lud) appreciate was that over the years-we are talking since 2004-I had managed to create two iTunes accounts. Now, there are some people who have need of more than one account, but I am definitely not one of them. The reality was laid out for me by two Apple technicians who in two detailed emails catalogued the precise dates when the accounts had been created and had their passwords changed.

It is quite apparent from reading the online discussions between various Apple users who have managed to do the same thing that there are traps for the unwary in the way the company's systems for online purchases of music, media and apps are set up, although of course to an IT specialist the systems may be perfectly sound and logical. The human mind is not a computer though, in spite of superficial resemblances, any more than chimpanzee is a human being. Apple mostly does the intuitive interface thing really well, but in the matter of online identities its trademark ease of use is somewhat lacking.

Anyway, we are where we are, with the result that most of my music has been bought on one account and my phone apps on the other. I could close one of the accounts but then I would run the risk of not being able to reload some of my purchases or playing them on other devices. It is here that technology meshes with intellectual property rights, since the rights to, say, play a particular song attach to the account through which it has been bought and not to me: they cannot be transferred and accounts cannot be merged.

The nightmare is over. I have a clear understanding of the two accounts and their related passwords and life has moved on after what has been a particularly constipated three days.

I still love my phone of course, which has a lovely new operating system, downloaded this week. I am writing this entry on it, as it happens, since I have finally had to bite the bullet and take my laptop back to the local geeks for a new hard drive to be fitted. The old one was stalling every few minutes and also could not be backed up: both warning signs of drive failure. I am told the new drive should be installed in a few days and I will then have a further 250 gigabytes to fill with silly photos, blog posts and the like.

I have not been shut away with digital devices all the time. I have managed three good walks. Two were to the GP: for a flu jab (which passed off without incident) and to address a trying little problem that has arisen as a result of the recent chemotherapy (whose details I will not trouble you with, yet at any rate).

My wife and I have also continued our tour of National Trust tearooms, taking advantage of the radiant autumn sunshine yesterday to visit Claremont Landscape Garden, just a short trip in the car from here. Portions in the tearooms are invariably generous and so we shared a large slice of excellent chocolate cake (although the orange and poppy seed and the date and walnut were both equally tempting).

There is a wonderful amphitheatre that leads down to the lake at Claremont. Great slopes for children to play on, although the NT of course has to post notices warning that the little tikes should be supervised at all times. I would love to show you a picture but technology at this stage will not permit me. Grrrr!

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